Monday, February 8, 2010

Making a Bias Garment

First of all, I want to acknowledge that the techniques I'll share with you in this tutorial were learned from Sandra Betzina when I attended her Fitting Workshop in Halifax in 2006.I have to say that I was reluctant to make bias garments until I learned these steps from her.

1. After your fabric is preshrunk,iron it while stretching it in all directions. Spend a bit of time doing this as it will be worth it in the end.

2.Be sure to cut each piece of your garment on the true bias or it will not hang properly.

3.Instead of using 5/8" seams,cut the side seams to have a seam allowance of 1.5".Wider seams will give you better control as you sew.(Also it will give you extra room at the side seams if you need it).

4. After cutting out your garment, go back to the ironing board and press and stretch again but this time, each individual piece .

5.Next,lay your pattern pieces over the pressed pieces and if they've "grown", trim to size.

All that pressing and stretching means you don't have to hang your garment up to stretch because that's already done.

Be very careful not to stretch as you sew or handle the garment from this point on.

If you are adding a zipper, stabilise the seam allowance for the zipper with fusible interfacing before you start to sew.

To avoid shoulders from stretching,stabilise them as well.(I use clear elastic or narrow strips of interfacing)

6.Sew your seams using a small zigzag stitch. (I use 1.5 wide and 2.0 long).

7.Press your seams open carefully without stretching. Trim away some of the excess seam.(I trim only 1/2" and leave the seam one inch wide.)

8.To hem your garment, sew wide bias tape with a 5/8 " seam to the hem. ( I make my own but you can use the wide one available in retail ).Turn the seam and press and hem using your preferred method. The bias tape will conform easily to make hemming easier


To make this bias skirt

I had to put in a little extra effort because the fabric was plaid. The skirt had only one main pattern piece which was used for both front and back. After cutting the front. I laid it on the fabric so that I could match the plaid perfectly.I pinned at the beginning of each new row of plaid to make sure the fabric would not move as I cut.As for the waistband, I didn't manage to match it perfectly because it was contoured but I can live with that.

So that's it. I really think you'll find these steps useful if you 'd like to try sewing bias garments.


  1. Diana - I must have met you because I took Sandra's classes in Halifax too, were you at that great dinner that Julie hosted at MSVU? Her classes were awesome. I took the french jacket class. Thanks for this blog - I love your instructions, and this bias info is fabulous!
    Keep writing. We'll keep reading.

  2. To carrtotsandsmarties: I took the class in Aug.2006 and don't think there was aFrench jacket class offered at the time. But sandra was fabulous and it was a highlite in my life. Thanks for the encouragement and I will continue as inspiration hits.

  3. Wow, great tips! I am planning to make a skirt in plaid with the front centre panel in bias. I will give these tips a try.

  4. Fantastic as always! You are so generous sharing all your tips, thank you. I am learning lots!